Title: The Other Life
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Publication date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Length: 314 pages
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Age group: Young Adult
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Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.
Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation…and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers. When Sherry’s dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua – an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?
Susanne Winnacker’s The Other Life is the perfect example of a fast paced, action packed and cleverly written dystopian novel – something you pick up and find yourself breezing through the story in one day. I still consider myself quite new to the dystopian genre but Winnacker presents us such a devastating picture of a future Los Angeles, something so different from the world we’re living in now, that you simply cannot help but listen to every word she says.
The plot is just fantastic: there’s no introduction in the sense that we don’t have a clue about what happened Sherry and her family. They’ve already been living in this bunker for 3 years by the time the story starts. We learn little bits of information about them and how their life has been down there in the past few years, but we still don’t know why they’re there or what happens if they run out of food and have to go out of their hiding place. Winnacker gradually builds up the tension in her book and keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way until the end. There are short periods when she lets you relax, take a deep breath and hope that everything will be all right, everyone will make it to the end but you soon realize that just like the characters, you can’t let your guards down. When you think you’ve seen it all, Winnacker still manages to surprise you with another twist and make the suspense even more agonising than before.
On top of a gripping storyline, The Other Life has characters you probably won’t forget anytime soon. Sherry and Joshua are a perfect duo and I couldn’t tell you which one of them is more likeable or relatable – I just loved them both. I loved the fact that even though Sherry is only fifteen, she acts like an adult. She takes care of her little sister and she’s tough, just like Joshua. I really liked how mysterious and tough, but at the same time vulnerable he is.
Gut-wrenching, utterly riveting and still a little bit optimistic, The Other Life is definitely one of those books you need to pick up as soon as you can. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s brilliant – believe me, you’ll find it hard to put it down. Without a doubt, it’s been one of my favourite books this year. The ending opened up many possibilities for the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Can 2013 hurry up, please?